The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the city police about the action taken by it against a Twitter user for his alleged offensive tweet on fact-checking website Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair.
Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, who was hearing Zubair’s plea to quash an FIR registered against him after he responded to the Twitter user who was using a picture with his minor daughter as display picture on the platform, observed that although the police have not found anything against Zubair in the case, the matter should come to a logical closure.
The FIR was lodged against Zubair in 2020 for allegedly threatening and torturing a minor girl.
“What about the person who put the offensive tweet? What did you do regarding this gentleman?” asked the court.
“I want to know what happened… I want to see if things are coming to logical closure,” said the court as it listed the matter for further hearing on March 13.
Zubair’s counsel has earlier told the court that he was being trolled for his posts on Twitter by a man who abused and demeaned him and even left communally-charged comments on his page on the micro-blogging platform and when he subsequently posted the display picture of the man standing with his minor daughter, whose face was cautiously blurred by the petitioner, while posting a tweet, a complaint was made against him.
The Delhi Police has earlier told the court that it has not found any criminality against Zubair in the present case, registered for allegedly threatening and torturing a minor on social media, and his name has not been included in the charge sheet.
The police had lodged the FIR on the basis of a complaint from the NCPCR, which referred to a photo of the girl and her father shared by Zubair on Twitter during an online spat with her father.
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The NCPCR has contended before the high court that the submission of the city police that no cognisable offence was made out against Zubair was “incorrect” and that the agency’s stand indicates the casual attitude of the authorities.
It has urged the court to direct the Delhi Police to conduct a thorough investigation in the case and conclude it on priority.
The NCPCR has said re-tweeting of the girl’s picture contributed to the disclosure of her identity through her father, seriously jeopardised her safety and security and also exposed her to harassment on social media platforms like Twitter where lewd and disgraceful comments were published about her by the users.
“The comments made on the picture of the minor girl also included comments which were in the nature of sexual harassment and were seen to be in violation of the provisions of the POCSO Act, IPC and IT Act,” it has said.
The commission has said even after knowing the fact that several comments were being made on his post against the girl, which were indecent and sexual in nature, Zubair neither tried to delete the tweet nor informed the authorities concerned about the users who had indulged in violating the girl’s rights.
The high court had, in September 2020, directed the Delhi Police not to take any coercive steps against Zubair in the case. It had also directed Twitter India to cooperate with police in the investigation of the matter.
Zubair has earlier described the allegation levelled against him in the FIR as “an absolutely frivolous complaint”.